The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, has today (9 January 2017) appointed an inspector to look into concerns around financial management and governance at Northamptonshire County Council.
Under powers granted to him under the Local Government Act 1999, the Secretary of State can commission an independent inspection to better understand whether a council is complying with its ‘best value’ duty – a legal requirement to ensure good governance and effective management of resources.
The Secretary of State has now has appointed Max Caller CBE to complete a report He will have a legal right to inspect and take away documents, and to access any council properties.
Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, said:
My decision to appoint an inspector is not taken lightly. I hope it sends a strong signal that robust processes are in place to investigate allegations of failures in financial management and governance in local government.
Read the written ministerial statement.
The best value duty was introduced in England and Wales by the Local Government Act 1999. Its provisions came into force in April 2000. The aim was to improve local services in terms of both cost and quality.
A best value authority must make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the way in which its functions are exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness (section 3(1) of the Local Government Act 1999).
Under section 10 of the Local Government Act 1999, the Secretary of State may appoint a person to carry out an inspection of a specified best value authority’s compliance with the best value requirements in relation to specified functions.